Behavioral shifts

Last week, The Manila Times held its 2020 Midyear Economic Report online forum, with Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Benjamin Diokno as keynote speaker and with Hungry Workhorse moderating the event. One of the reactors was Fernando Antonio Tansingco, senior executive vice president for financial markets of the Metropolitan Bank and Trust Co. In his presentaton, he shared the financial outlook of the local market in consideration of anticipated behavioral shifts.

What caught my eye were these behavioral shifts that, by now, we have already gotten used to: behaviors in relation to travel, dining, fashion and even the way we conduct business all point to the shift to digital. Some may think this is temporary, but with the metropolis going back to being under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) as of August 4, we cannot anymore dismiss or ignore the sustainability that comes with this pivot to digital.

Some of these behavioral shifts include:

– From foreign to local travel. Gone are the days when one can fly cheap, given the many promotions available. Local travel will be more accessible, especially to places that can be accessed by land. City living to rural living is also something that could be sustainable in the long run.

– From transportation to telecommunication. If there’s anything that the coronavirus pandemic has pleasantly taken away, it’s the sense of “morning rush” or “rush hour” from our lives. Meetings in Makati City at 8:30 a.m. are a thing of the past now, and can actually be done quite easily through various digital platforms.

– From retail to online shopping. This applies to a range of products, from your groceries to food and even medicines. Anything that used to be bought from a physical store is now possible just by looking at various platforms available — ecommerce, marketplaces and, yes, barter communities.

– From restaurants to food delivery. Dining out is not going to be the norm for a while, and food delivery has replaced this. It is now up to customers/diners to recreate the same ambience or feel in the comfort of their homes, relying on available resources, and using them creatively and smartly.

– From fashion to personal protective equipment (PPE). Since most of us are stuck at home, there is really no use to dress up in the same manner as we would prior to the lockdowns. In fact, a lot of fashion designers have created their own versions of PPE to help support frontliners.

– From central business districts to decentralized business areas. Your physical location does not really matter anymore, especially as long as you have good internet connectivity to remain connected to your colleagues, peers and customers. This is now the work-from-home arrangement we physically have to create, in which most of us converted certain parts of our homes into workable spaces, complete with furniture items that are ergonomics-friendly.

The point of these behavioral shifts — and the fact that we are again back under MECQ — is to emphasize the need to take advantage of the digital capabilities available to business organizations, small and medium enterprises, and entrepreneurs. Much of the opportunities available reside online, especially for food, among others. I remember in the early days of the lockdown, when one of those digital events I joined shared the value of repurposing that could help transform or sustain one’s business. Repurposing has never looked good until this time.

It is also wise to take a step back and assess which areas in these behavioral shifts apply to you as you think of the future of your business or consider an entrepreneurial journey in this time of the pandemic.


Kay Calpo Lugtu is the chief operating officer of Hungry Workhorse, a digital and culture transformation firm. Her advocacies include nation-building, sustainability education and financial literacy. She may be reached at